The India Railway Budget for 2016-17 presented today by minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu will cheer the IT sector thanks to investment plans.
India Railway will be making an investment of Rs 1.21 lakh crore during the fiscal 2016-2017. The main challenge for Railways will be the possible delay in implementing several projects through joint ventures with states, developing new frameworks for PPP, etc.
Railway will introduce sale of tickets through hand held terminals. It will start e- ticketing facility to foreign debit / credit cards. There will be bar coded tickets, scanners and access control on a pilot basis.
E-booking of tickets facility on the concessional passes will be available to journalists. Indian Railway will launch the facility of cancellation through the 139 helpline post verification using ‘One Time Password’ sent on registered phone number. In order to improve tatkaal services, Railways will install CCTV cameras on windows and conduct periodic audit of PRS website.
India Railway will integrate all facilities into two mobile apps dealing with ticketing issues and for receipt and redressal of complaints and suggestions.
For improving customer interface, India Railway will deploy information boards in trains showing the on-board services and GPS based digital displays inside coaches to provide real time information regarding upcoming halts.
India Railway is working on installing centralized network of 20,000 screens across 2,000 stations for sharing real time information to passengers and unlock advertising potential.
India Railway proposes to invite FM Radio stations for providing train borne entertainment.
Railways intend to use the latest drone and Geo Spatial based satellite technology for remotely reviewing the physical progress across major projects. Monitoring of DFC will be operationalized through this mode in 2016-17.
There will be system-wide Information Technology integration – initiated system wide integration, both horizontal and vertical, akin to an ERP through innovative partnership models.
India Railway introduced application of Track Management System (TMS), inventory management module of TMS has resulted in inventory reduction by 27,000 MT resulting in saving of Rs 64 crore and scrap identification of 22,000 MT equivalent to Rs 53 crore.
It introduced 1,780 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines, mobile apps and GoIndia smartcard for cashless purchase of UTS and PRS tickets, enhanced capacity of e-ticketing system from 2,000 tickets per minute to 7,200 tickets per minute and to support 1,20,000 concurrent users as against 40,000 earlier.
India Railway is providing Wi-Fi services in 100 stations and plans to achieve Wi-Fi broadband in 400 more.
IT industry response
Software industry association NASSCOM welcomed the technology focused initiatives in Railway Budget 2016.
We are glad to note that the government is walking the talk on IT integration and deployment of e-services, to achieve the dream of Digital India. Aimed at showcasing a positive future for railways in India; the inclusion of GPS based digital displays in coaches, and the setting up Wi-Fi internet in 100 stations this year, are initiatives that will not only streamline services in the railways, but also benefit customers across the board.
The Railway minister has also announced the utilization of drones for remote monitoring of on-going projects, which is an imperative to ensure timely completion of projects. With the railways, ready to take the next leap in setting high speed rail networks, these announcements are testimony to the centre’s commitment towards the upgradation of services; giving the transportation lifeline of India its due.
MN Vidyashankar, president, India Electronics & Semiconductor Association
Indian Railways has taken a step further towards Smarter Transportation. We are inching towards a technology-driven Rail travel. GPS-based digital display in coaches and the introduction of bar-coded tickets will enhance security and comfort for the travelling public. The scheme of Wi-Fi installations in 500 railway stations by next year, will witness a reduction in India’s digital gap. The technology infrastructure needs has to be upgraded, keeping in view the growth in passenger-cargo traffic, with a 20-year perspective. The semiconductor companies will have a significant role to play to enable the FM radio stations to work effectively in the running trains.